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Cyprus

UCy backs down on private school enrolments (Update)

By Andria Kades

THE University of Cyprus (UCy) will not be enrolling private school students who have been accepted by other universities based on their GCE and International Baccalaureate (IB) qualifications until the legal services review the case.

The decision, taken on Thursday, followed a meeting between Education Minister Costas Kadis and UCy rector Constantinos Christophides that was apparently conducted in a “positive climate.”

Should the legal services decree the university is right to execute this move, UCy will still not be able to implement it until parliament weighs in on it and MPs have their say.

The two bodies will cooperate in creating a new set of rules for an alternative procedure in gaining access to public higher education that will be put to parliament. The aim is to resolve the issue once and for all.

Public school teachers’ and student unions were incensed when UCy announced recently they would be enrolling private school students if they had been accepted by other universities based on their GCE and IB qualifications.

Saying this violates the due process, teachers union OELMEK called on Kadis to intervene. He duly did, weighing in and saying that Christophides had not consulted with the ministry asking him to recall the decision.

“We think it was inappropriate and a hasty process, especially at a moment when UCy and TEPAK (technical university) in co-operation with the education ministry, have agreed to an alternative student admission procedure into public universities in Cyprus and Greece,” the minister said.

The procedure is linked with the university entrance exams and a bill is currently undergoing processing by the Legal Service.

Parents of private school students had earlier expressed support for the university’s decision to enrol students with GCE and IB qualifications who have been accepted by other universities but have not taken the entrance exams.

Thanking the UCy for a move they described as “brave”, they took a shot at those who expressed their opposition – Education minister Costas Kadis, political parties, and secondary school teachers union OELMEK.

“Instead of addressing the rector of the university, they should turn their attention elsewhere so they can positively and constructively contribute towards permanently solving the problem of private school students entering the University of Cyprus,” their association said.

“In this way they will better contribute towards upgrading and modernising our education.”

The current system was unfair, the association said, especially at a time of financial hardship. UCy’s decision was important because it afforded pupils the same right as any other student to study in their home country.

UCy had previously sought to quell any opposition that said this would deprive state schools students a place in the university, but nevertheless unions and Kadis persisted.

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